Definition of Wireless Printer
By Steven Symes
Wireless technology for both homes and offices is becoming increasingly popular. According to technology expert website CIO.com, 83 percent of chief information officers have wireless access to their email, with 75 percent of chief information officers currently managing a wireless project in their organization. Wireless technology allows notebook computers and other mobile devices to connect with other devices in a network, including a wireless router that grants Internet access to those devices. Wireless technology does not stop at computers, though, with some users wanting to connect wirelessly to printers.
Wireless technology involves moving information back and forth between electronic devices using radio waves instead of cables and wires. Wireless technology came about in cordless phones, garage door openers and television remote controls before it was used successfully in computers and printers. Most printers are equipped for what is called fixed wireless transmission. Fixed wireless is wireless communication that takes place in one area, such as a building or even just a portion of a building.
Wi-Fi is a popular wireless transmission method used for networks that spread out over only a few hundred feet. Most home networks and many office networks operate on Wi-Fi for any wireless devices. Wireless modems with a built-in antenna broadcast the Wi-Fi signal to the networked wireless devices, including printers. If a computer wants to print to a wireless printer, the signal is transmitted to the wireless router, which then sends the signal to the printer.
Bluetooth is another form of wireless transmission that also uses radio frequencies to transmit data back and forth between devices. Bluetooth, unlike Wi-Fi, can only broadcast up to 33 feet away. Bluetooth technology is popular for devices such as mobile phones, because they are small and can be moved easily into range of other Bluetooth-enabled devices. Bluetooth-enabled printers can communicate with Bluetooth-enabled phones within 33 feet, allowing a user to print photos from a mobile phone.
If a device has a wireless card embedded, it means the card is located inside the machine. Some printers come from the manufacturer with a wireless card already installed inside, while other printers have a space for a wireless card that can be added by the printer's user later.
If a printer does not come with a wireless card embedded or does not have a space inside for one, a print server can be connected to the printer. Print servers are like wireless routers for printers, enabling the printer to communicate with other wireless devices on a network. Different print servers have different ways of connecting with printers, including serial and USB ports.